Airports

Airports celebrate National Walking Day

For National Walking Day (April 4), airports around the country were on Twitter and Facebook reminding passengers about the marked walking paths in the terminals.

As someone who arrives at airports hours early for a flight in part to make sure I get my daily steps in, I’m a big fan of this airport amenity.

Let me know if you see more #NationalWalkingDay tweets from airports so I can add them to the list.

 

 

 

Snaps from a visit to an airport bag well

As part of research for an upcoming story, I spent two days visiting the ‘bag well’ at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport finding out what happens to your checked lugagge once you hand it over to your airline.

The short version: your bag travels on a freeway-like conveyor system that sends the bag to and through a TSA explosives detection machine and then back to the airline for sorting so can be sent to your airplane and loaded onto it.  The bag tag is scanned multiple times along the way to keep tabs on its whereabouts.

Here are some snaps from my adventure. Stay tuned for the full story.

 

 

Arts program at Philadelphia Int’l Airport turns 20

Christine Larson’s Farewell to Night

The arts and exhibitions program at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and, after 425 temporary exhibits and artist demonstrations, one of the first airport arts programs is still going strong.

Over the years, the exhibits have featured a variety of media including painting, photography, printmaking, wood working, ceramics, glass, and found objects such as a 20-foot clock made of hundreds of empty Yuengling beer bottles

Beer Bottle Clock

The current exhibit in Terminal A-East features a montage of Philadelphia’s 67 Historic Landmarks, recognizing the city’s designation as the nation’s first World Heritage City by the International Organization of World Heritage Cities.

Other exhibits in the terminals today include Christine Larsen’s Farewell to Night, a 100-footlong illustration of an imagined landscape where mystical characters celebrate the coming of morning  and Custom Bikes, which showcases hand-made bicycles from 5 different local bike shops.

 

The Exhibitions Program was founded by PHL Director of Image and Chief Curator Leah Douglas, who was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about the program via email:

What have been some of the challenges and successes of the art program during these 20 years?

“Twenty years ago there were few airport art programs to emulate so it takes time to model a program that works best for your airport, city, and region. Now passengers and employees are familiar with rotating art programs in airports and it something that they look forward to seeing.  The program has evolved into one of the area’s prized locations to exhibit because of the quality of our presentations and the quality and variety of the work that we show–in addition to the massive exposure with 82,000 passengers flying through PHL every day.”

What are some the most memorable exhibitions for you to put together?

“It’s always the next exhibition that I am looking forward to most and in particular, it is one that I am curating for this anniversary–It’s A Wrap: 20 for 20. This exhibition has to be the first-ever for an airport:  Twenty artists are invited to create interventions on existing architectural elements and furnishings. Several artists will crochet over top columns and rockers; 6 artists have been given ceiling tiles to paint on; 1 artist will apply colored tape in patterns along the glass of the moving walkway; and another artist will paint directly on 2 cement columns.”

Find more information about past, present and future exhibitions at Philadelphia International Airport here.

Are your favorite airports and airlines on these lists?

Airport Council International (ACI), the trade association of world airports,has issued its list of winners of the 2017 Airport Service Quality Awards (ASQ).

The awards cover  airports around the world and are based on more than 600,000 passenger surveys evaluating 34 performance indicators, including airport access, check-in, security screening, restrooms, stores, restaurants, and passenger comments about their best and worst experience at each airport.

In North America, Indianapolis International and Jacksonville International Airport tied in the Best Airport title among airports serving more than 2 million passengers a year.

There was also a tie for 2nd place in this category between El Paso (ELP), Ottowa (YOW) and Toronto Billy Bishop (YTZ) airports. Ditto for 3rd place in this category, between Austin (AUS), Columbus (CMH), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Halifax YHZ), Pittsburgh (PIT), San Antonio (SAT), San Jose (SJC) and Tampa (TPA).

Maine’s Portland International Jetport (PWM) was named Best Airport in North America among those serving less than 2 million passengers a year.

And Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport (CLE) was named the Most Improved Airport in North America.

When ranked by size (passengers served) and region, here are this year’s North America winners

2–5 million passengers per year: Ottawa (YOW)
5–15 million passengers per year: Indianapolis (IND)
15–25 million passengers per year: Tampa (TPA)
25–40 million passengers per year: Minneapolis (MSP)
Over 40 million passengers per year: Toronto Pearson (YYZ)

Be sure check out the full list of ACI’s 2017 rankings for airports in other parts of the world.

The Points Guy site also released its 2018 Best Airlines Annual Report, with rankings of U.S. airlines based on  evaluation of data and factors such as on-time arrival rates, passenger complaints, cabin comfort, baggage issues, frequent flyer programs and more.

Alaska Airlines topped this list for the second year in a row.

“The ongoing merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America hasn’t slowed down this customer favorite,” said TPG, noting that the Seattle-based Alaska Airlines ranked in its top three for airfare, on-time arrivals, customer satisfaction, baggage and a best-in-the-industry frequent flyer program.

Here’s how the rankings of the U.S. airlines shook out:

Alaska:

Southwest

Delta

United

Frontier

American

Spirit

JetBlue

Hawaiian

 

Travel Tidbits: Cool ANZ safety video, free museums, fun stuff

 

Happy Friday. Here’s hoping you have a great weekend of adventures planned.

Here are some travel tidbits that might be useful as you head out on the road.

Air New Zealand has a new in-fligh safety video it is calling “The World’s Coolest” – becuase it was filmed in Antarctica.

Pittsburgh International Airport gets arty

In addition to hosting a new paint-it-yourself art studio called Paint Monkey, Pittsburgh International Airport has appointed its first artist-in-residence. Blaine Siegel will have studio space at the airport for a year and during his residency he’ll interact with travelers and airport workers to better understand the airport environment. He’ll then produce an artwork that will be exhibited at the airport.

Visit museums free this weekend 

Thanks to the Museums on Us program, anyone with a Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or U.S. Trust credit or debit card can gain free entry to any of more than 200 museums, science centers and cultural attractions around the country this weekend – and on the first full weekend of every month. The full roster of participating venues can be found here.

Norwegian debuts female-driven in flight comedy channel

Norwegian has put together a female-driven in-flight comedy channel called PYPO (Put Your Pretty On), with Emmy-winner Stephanie Laing, that will be available on the airlines’ Dreamliner long-haul flights.  The channel will start with seven comedy sketches, totaling about 20 minutes, with more to come later this year.

Check out some samples here and here.

JFK Terminal has its own website

As a reminder that every terminal at New York’s JFK airport is pretty much its own world, JFK Terminal 4 now has its own website featuring an interactive terminal map, current information about security and taxi wait times, a FAQ section and tourist information. (T4 also has its own Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts).